So the other day I stumbled upon a blog post that I wrote back in 2016. And as I read it, I realised that this piece is so relevant to the crazy year we've all had this 2020. I hope that 19 year old Ash speaks some wisdom and hope to you today!
I don’t know about you guys, but with all the memes and obnoxious chatting going around it seems to me that it's just a universal agreement that 2016 was a hard year for everyone. I, as much as everyone else, was very egger to have that year become something of the past. Ironically, I have in fact seen a handful of positive posts where people have said that 2016 was an incredible year for them, but because of my personal struggles in 2016 it’s hard to believe all of that when all I’ve experienced has led me to a place of discomfort. But the new and improved me has learnt to seek out the positive in each situation, even if I believed I wouldn’t find any.
To be honest I was extremely optimistic at the start of the year, and lets just say 2016 humbled the heck out of me.
The beginning of that year was so hard in such a way that I packed my bags and flew to Europe to adventure around in hopes to find myself again. That was an amazing experience for me that I will hold dear to my heart forever, but at the same time it was hard. I learnt what it meant to have independence, to do things that I wanted to do, and to create experiences that would forever change me, but growth hurts. I also learnt what it meant to let go of dead things and that I was no longer a child. The thought and pressure to be something more than that was so overwhelming. It took time, but time is a wonderful thing and slowly but surely I started to find my footing.
When I finally decided to come back down to Earth, I was offered a job that has since led to much needed change in my life. Before, I was so petrified of what lived outside of my comfort-zone. That's incredibly ironic since it's a hard core belief of mine that nothing good ever comes out of creating a box of security that you never intend to leave. Nevertheless, I was pushed out of my ‘safe place’ and thrown into a world of possibility. A place I would have never come to know If I hadn’t let myself wander outside the four walls I had so cleverly built around myself the last 3 years.
With all that said, I still felt like my 2016 wasn’t great and for a while I complained about it.
“I wish it had been better.”
“I never saw any of that coming..”
“I can’t wait for this year to be over.”
After hearing many if my childish complaints, my father asked me why I felt that 2016 was a terrible year for me.
“I don’t know.” I said. “It was just a tough year.”
He then asked me to list everything I had experienced. In theory, everything I had personally gone through were ‘good’ things, so why did I feel like that wasn’t good enough?
I pondered about it for a while and this thought ended up popping into me head.
“Well, everything that happened to me all led to extreme growth.”
Ahh.. There was the answer to why I felt that this year was tough. Extreme growth.
What happens when you get put in a position of growth?? You get stretched.
And constantly being stretched feels like hell. Like a butterfly in a cacoon, you become extremely uncomfortable. It hurts, its tough, you’re not used to it, but something is happening. You’re becoming YOU. It's a new season that requires you to take a new form. It's all very necessary, but can often feel unnatural. You become a changed person and it took a little shedding and discomfort in order to be what you needed to be. That's what happened to me..
The negative and positive changes in my life this year have ultimately led me to a place I desperately needed to come to. It's funny because if my dad never asked me that question I might not have appreciated the hard times for what they were. I would have looked back, remembered all the emotions I felt, and labeled this year “one to forget”, but ironically it's one I really need to remember because it changed my whole out look on life and gave me a new understanding of myself, my purpose, and what I really want in life.
Change is inevitable. We all go through it and sometimes it takes being under a little pressure to see just what you can become.
My advise to you would be to look back at this year. Take every single little thing into consideration and realize the change that has come because of it. Maybe you haven’t quite seen the fruit of your labour yet, but understand that you needed to plow before you could plant and harvest. It's a process. The eye of the needle to biblically put it.
But I guess you could say that the end justifies the means.
So heres to 2017. May we continue to grow and step into who Yahweh has called us to be.
NOW back to present day Ash...
Wow, it's funny how something I wrote 4 years ago would speak to me in such a time of "discomfort". 2020 has not been the year I envisioned it to be on the 1st of January, but it has allowed for some much needed change to occur.
It's usually the valleys that prepare us for the mountains, and even though I could bask in all that has gone wrong, I choose to listen to my own advice.
I pray that this year of stretching leads to some beautiful growth in your lives! And at the end of the day give thanks for He is good!